Vote bank politics is an unavoidable tool for every political party. In such politics, the public is divided on various lines such as religion, caste, backwardness, regional identity etc. It is a tool, which even helps non-performers and unwarranted people winning elections. Unfortunately in our constitution, there is no provision to counter such divisive politics.
Let’s understand how this divisive politics and other dividing mechanisms work. Let’s consider there would be a 60 per cent voter turnout in a particular election. Generally the winning candidate gets 30 per cent vote share. That means the winning candidate gets just 18 per cent of total voters only, who would rule over the entire population. Money power also plays an important role in vote bank politics. Sometimes dummies too prop up to act as a spoiler, spoiling the chances of a true wining contestant so as to make vested contestant to win. One can say it as manipulating the electoral procedure, taking advantage of faulty line of the constitution.
Had there been a system, where the winner is required to get more than fifty per cent votes, such divisive tactic and use of money power could be contained. One can only get majority mandate due to his performance, credibility and conduct. In a multi-party system in India, except few seats, no contestant can win more than fifty percent vote. The remedy perhaps is a run-off election between the top two candidates.
Such run-off elections are also in practice in many countries. But such are applied for top posts only. It would be very expensive and might be impractical also to conduct run-off election for more than 500 seats for Parliament and thousands of assembly seats and millions of local body seats as well.
However there is another way to get a solution. This method is also constitutionally endorsed. Like for Rajya Sabha elections, President and vice president elections, there could be an introduction of a second choice vote, which implies that every voter will have two choices to make. First choice to his preferred contestant and second choice to another candidate whom the voter feels can be accepted in case the first choice is not voted by majority. Thus if a candidate didn’t get more than 50 per cent votes, the second choice votes to be counted exactly the way Rajya Sabha election is done. This way the political party would refrain from vote bank politics fearing loss of second choice votes.
Divisive electoral politics is never good for any polity. There should be a mechanism to eliminate such politics. But who will bell the cat? Almost all political parties are indulged in vote bank politics of some kind or another. No political parties would want to end such method, which they use for their benefit. Can Anna take up this issue?
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